Eagles Blank Raiders, KC Playoff Hopes Alive
By David Sharp
Knox County held North Shelby to 38 total yards from scrimmage and four total first downs in a 44-0 District football victory at North Shelby. Leighton McCabe ran two punts back for touchdowns. Donovan Edwards passed for one touchdown and ran in two more scores.
The Eagles (4-5, 1-1 in district play) made several changes after losing four consecutive games, including a 35-7 district loss to Scotland County.
Knox County’s coaching staff switched to a flex bone on offense. The Eagles made defensive moves as well.
North Shelby (0-9, 0-2 in the district) was without standout lineman Kendle Smith due to injury. Sharri Edwards sat out the game for Knox County with a knee problem.
The Raiders started the game with 13 available players and finished the contest with 11.
North Shelby had 19 of their 47 boys in school go out for football for a 40% participation rate.
The Raiders have 66% of their eighth grade boys and 72% of their seventh grade boys out for football according to Raider coach Josh Brummitt.
Knox County was able to wear the home standing Raiders out in the second half.
Knox County won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Raider coach Josh Brummitt was able to stall the Eagles several times with a mix of run blitzes.
Knox County forced a three and out on defense to start the contest. All district kick returner Leighton McCabe worked his way to the end zone the first time an Eagle touched the football.
Leighton McCabe raced 59 yards for a touchdown on a punt return with 10:14 remaining in the first quarter. The two point run failed, leaving Knox County ahead by six points.
Two 15 yard penalties assessed against the Eagle defense moved the football into Knox County territory. Brent Cowan picked off a Jacob Rich pass, giving the visitors the football on the KCHS 28 yard line with 6:26 to play in the first quarter.
Donovan Edwards took most of the varsity snaps at quarterback with Leighton McCabe at running back. Tyler Kirby picked off a Donovan Edwards pass.
North Shelby took over on their 25 yard line with 3:45 to play in the first period. The teams exchanged punts.
Knox County stopped the Raiders defensively. A short punt gave Knox County the football on their 40 yard line with ten minutes to play in the first half.
Donovan Edwards rang the bell with a 14 yard touchdown scamper with 6:21 remaining in the first half. Edwards ran in the two point conversion for a 14-0 edge.
About the only negative thing from the Eagle point of view was two first half turnovers. Jacob Gander recovered a fumble on the Raider 31 yard line with three minutes remaining in the first half.
Colton Danger recorded an eight yard tackle for loss, setting up another NS punt. Knox County took over on their 44 yard line with 51 seconds remaining in the first half.
Donovan Edwards dashed 16 yards for a first down. Knox County had the football on the Raider 23 yard line with six ticks on the clock.
Donovan Edwards brought back memories of Terry Joyce and other standout Eagle quarterbacks that wore the now retired number ten with a touchdown pass to Brent Cowan on the last play of the half. Cowan made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone for a 22 point lead at intermission.
Donovan Edwards ran in the two point conversion. Edwards will wear the football number ten until he graduates from Knox County R-I. After the 2014 football season, No Knox County football player will wear the number ten in honor of former St. Louis Cardinal punter Terry Joyce.
Knox County held a 167-5 halftime rushing advantage. The Eagles had six penalties for 50 yards in the first half. North Shelby was flagged two times for ten yards. The Eagles held North Shelby without a first down from scrimmage in the first two periods.
Knox County had seven first half first downs to two. Both Raider first downs in the opening half were by penalty. North Shelby won the first half turnover battle 2-1.
The Eagles took the second half kickoff and scored. Donovan Edwards danced along the sideline for a nine yard scoring run with 11:27 to play in the third quarter. The two point run failed, leaving Knox County up by a 28-0 margin.
Knox County scored three third quarter touchdowns in relatively short order, putting the game on ice. Jared Barnard had two tackles for loss, forcing a punt on the next North Shelby series.
Leighton McCabe took a 56 yard punt return to the house for a 36 point lead with 9:28 remaining in the period. McCabe ran in the two point conversion.
Dakota Hagar recovered a fumble, putting Knox County back on offense with a short field. The Eagles had the football on the Raider 20 yard line. The clock was running continuously by the Missouri Mercy Rule.
Chance Tungate took over the quarterbacking job. Tungate and Brody Moubry executed a great option fake. Brody Moubry ran in untouched for an eight yard score with 4:09 to go in the third quarter.
Brody Moubry ran in the two point conversion for a 44-0 Knox County lead. The teams exchanged punts. Knox County inserted their JV into the game. North Shelby reeled off two first downs in the final six minutes of the contest.
Brody Moubry broke up a Jacob Rich pass, turning the football over on downs. Knox County ran out the remaining time, sealing their 44-0 victory. “We decided it was time to make some changes,” Knox County coach Alex VanDelft said.
“We had lost four games in a row. We put some guys in better positions to make a play,” Coach VanDelft said. “I think it worked out well for us. Colton Danger and Jared Barnard had big games at defensive end.”
“We were really impressed with the effort we got from the kids. We started two freshmen on the left side of our offensive line,” VanDelft said.
“Riley Poston and Austin Haines did an outstanding job. They have been working really hard on our scout team. We thought it was time to give them a shot.”
“Colbie Murray and Jon Harder gave us a great push on the right side of our offensive line. We were able to get second level blocks,” Alex VanDelft said.
“We were able to get Donovan Edwards and Leighton McCabe some room to make big plays.”
Knox County rushed 31 times for 210 yards. Donovan Edwards had 12 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Leighton McCabe had eight carries for 95 yards. Brody Moubry went 6-26 with a touchdown.
The Eagles had a 10-4 advantage in first downs. Donovan Edwards went 1-3 passing for 23 yards with a touchdown and an interception against.
The Eagles were flagged ten times for 60 yards. Jon Harder led the Eagles with seven tackles. Colton Danger had six tackles, three for loss.
The teams turned the football over two times each.
Knox County punted twice for a 27.5 yard average. Colton Danger and Leighton McCabe were the Eagle punters. The Raiders had four Jacob Rich punts for a 27 yard average.
North Shelby rushed for 25 yards according to official Raider stats. Jacob Rich was 2-11 passing for 13 yards and an interception against.
North Shelby fumbled three times, losing one. The Raiders had four penalties for 30 yards. Tyler Kirby led the Raiders with 18 carries for 28 yards.
Scotland County defeated Schuyler County in Thursday night district play at Memphis. The Tigers claimed their first district football championship in seven years.
Knox County and Schuyler County are tied at 1-1 in the district entering the regular season’s final week. The Rams and Eagles will play on Friday, October 28 at Ella Campbell Field for second place in Class 1 District 10.
The Knox County senior night game winner will advance to the Class 1 football playoffs, most likely playing November 2 at South Shelby.
Schuyler County took it to the Eagles 34-16 during the Ram Homecoming football game. Knox County entered that game favored by as many as three touchdowns.
Schuyler County lost their first four games, all to teams that were or are currently ranked in the state. The Rams (4-5) won their next four straight before losing to Scotland County by a 28-14 margin.
Knox County must do a better job of tackling and along the line of scrimmage on Senior Night than at Schuyler County if they are to advance to the playoffs. Schuyler County scored most of their points on long touchdown runs of 41 yards or more.
Containing speedy runners Dakota Schmitter and quarterback Dalton Shively will be a key to the outcome. “We have the situation where we can win and move on,” Knox County coach Alex VanDelft said. “We are excited for it. Hopefully the guys will come prepared for Schuyler County.”
“They played a really good game against us the first time around. They beat us by 18 points,” Alex VanDelft said. “We have to improve on that performance. The biggest thing we need to improve on is our tackling.”
“The guys were there to make plays and didn’t tackle. We didn’t play very good fundamental football. We didn’t block very well in the second half,” Coach VanDelft said.
“We have worked a lot on our blocking and tackling. Hopefully it will be a closer game this time.”